Moving Confederate statues could prove costly for Memphis

Tennessee Strips Memphis Of Celebration Money For City's Removal Of Confederate Statues

Democrats in the House condemned the move, which came in the form of a last-minute amendment to an appropriations bill and triggered a heated debate. The Republican-dominated House in Tennessee has voted to punish the city of Memphis for removing Confederate monuments by taking $250,000 away from the city that would have been used for planning a bicentennial celebration in 2019.

After Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the movement to remove Confederate monuments from cities in the South was given new life. The amendment was approved with a 56-31 vote and was introduced following Memphis' decision to take down two racist statues past year.

Memphis itself had been legally blocked from removing the statues of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate president Jefferson Davis from two public parks, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, says state lawmakers' move to withhold funds for the city's bicentennial celebration as punishment for the removal of Confederate statues should not affect planning for the event. "You remove money from a city because we removed your God from our grounds", Parkinson said, referring to the statue of the long-dead KKK leader.

Initially, Memphis was denied a waiver by the state Historical Commission to remove the statues. The lone dissenting vote was from a Memphis Democrat, Sen.

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On Tuesday, the House voted on a budget amendment that removed the $250,000.

But Republican Rep. Andy Holt supported the initiative, arguing that "bad actions" have "bad consequences".

And Democratic Rep. Raumesh Akbari said the amendment was "unkind, it is un-Christian and it is unfair".

Beyond the deeply rooted racism at the center of the issue, this punishment also comes across as a deliberate flex of power simply to teach Memphis a lesson about going against the wishes of the House. House lawmakers from Memphis responded by calling it vile, racist and unchristian.

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